Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: The Ritual

Dollano 32, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

The Ritual

The healing ceremony took place in a large room at the back end of the house. The building was a very old structure on an older street. Stains marked the floor and walls where the spilled brews of other ceremonies, over many years, left a part of their story.

I wasn’t supposed to be there. At least I assume I wasn’t, but I am a reporter so as far as I’m concerned that’s my invitation! I managed to sneak in as everyone was focusing on preparation for the ceremony. There was an alcove just inside the room, near the door, with several statues standing in it, and I found a spot behind one of them — a tall ishiri wearing ornate robes and a tight-fitting six-sided hat.

They all walked in with Olladdowa leading the way. Several of their helpers carried Sheshoffis and laid him on a thick wooden table in the middle of the room.

Olladdowa placed himself at the head of the table and his two assistants were on either side. At the other end was Donnessling, the only one of the nossring they allowed to participate. The other sorcerers lined up along the walls. I guess they were prepared to help if their help was called for.

The room went quiet when Olladdowa placed his hands flat on the table in front of him. He then raised his arms and began to chant. His voice was low and the words were from an ancient tongue. Though I didn’t understand what they meant I could feel their solemnity, and they filled the room with a heavy stillness.

When he stopped the sorcerer to his right raised his hands and slowly passed them over Sheshoffiss’ body. They were covered in tattoos, which seemed to be letters or words. My guess was that they were from the same language that Olladdowa had just been chanting.

His hands stopped and hovered over Sheshoffiss’ midsection just over his wound. I noticed the tattoos flutter and then slowly lift themselves off the sorcerer’s hands and fingers. They floated above Sheshoffis and then slowly drifted down. They hovered briefly over the wound and then continued their descent to disappear beneath the putrid gash in his flesh. Sheshoffiss jerked as they entered his body, but then settled into stillness. His muscles seemed to untighten slightly.

Olladdowa resumed his chanting. It was a different song and different words this time. As the words drifted over Sheshoffiss a soft light filled the room. It pushed away some of the gloom from the space and I felt a hope.

As the chant continued, so did the tattooed sorcerer. Her fingers shifted in an elegant motion above Sheshoffiss’ wound as if she was playing an invisible harp inside his body.

Her fingers suddenly stopped. She seemed to be straining as if she was lifting something heavy that she could not afford to let go of. It was then that the third sorcerer reached down to one of the bowls on the table in front of him to quickly scoop out a thick, wet poultice of some kind. He applied it carefully, and gently, to the wound.

Sheshoffiss cried out in pain and his body jerked away from the healer’s hands that were touching him. Olladdowa’s voice grew stronger and the words suddenly carried commands in them. At the same time the tattooed sorcerer’s hands came alive again. She tugged at this unseen thing and her fingers danced as if that thing was trying to slip away from her control. At one point she cried out and reached down, and suddenly a moss green light covered her hands. She looked down the table at Donnessling who held a glowing green Stone in front of him. I could see his lips move in a silent speech as the Eye of Darmyn glowed stronger. He nodded to the sorcerer and she resumed the movement of her hands in the air above Sheshoffiss’ wound. Now, though, her hands were bathed in a green light and her work seemed lighter and her hands steadier.

The ritual continued for many minutes. Olladdowa’s chant changed a number of times. The sorcerer on one side of Sheshoffiss reached for, and softly applied, one poultice after another and sometimes stretched oddly-shaped leaves over the cut. The tattooed sorcerer’s hands were in a constant struggle with the unseen thing, and Donnessling, sweat dripping from his forehead, continued to draw the strong green light from its source.

Suddenly, the tattooed sorcerer shouted forth a word that cracked like thunder in the room. A swirling black and gray mist rose out of Sheshoffiss’ middle. It suddenly flared with a terrifying darkness, like a living nightmare preparing to drive its dreamer mad. Before it could the three sorcerers and Donnessling thrust their arms toward this evil thing and with a single voice cried out a word that broke the dark thing. A piercing cry of malevolence and pure hatred mixed with the crackling sound as the black and gray mist was shattered and replaced by a fresh white light and clean air.

The room suddenly brightened. The three sorcerers stumbled back from the table and fell into the hands of their fellow conjurers who had rushed out from their waiting places along the wall. Donnessling was barely standing. I was about to rush out to help him, but before I could he started moving around the table. He made his way to Sheshoffiss’ side and stroked his forehead. Sheshoffiss’ eyes opened and Donnessling met them. I could see the tightness of his shoulders unwind in relief. He smiled lovingly down at Sheshoffiss who returned the gaze.

“The wound will now heal.” It was the voice of Olladdowa. He was exhausted but relieved as well. He looked to his two comrades to make sure they were not hurt. Seeing they were not in danger he nodded to one of the sorcerers supporting him. She turned and motioned to several others. Gently they placed Sheshoffiss on a sturdy stretcher and moved him to a room where his recovery would be well looked after.

It was over.

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